It was another tough outing on Saturday for UMass, as they were completely outclassed by perennial Big 10 cellar-dweller Indiana. The Hoosiers were able to move the ball all over the field, meeting little resistance from the home team, eventually posting a cool 45 points - 38 of those coming in the first half. So what went wrong? Well, everything, sort of. Don't get me wrong: this game was a pretty sizable improvement from UMass' 59-total-yards-in-a-shutout debacle that was Week 1 against Connecticut. It just wasn't big enough.
There is a bit of silver lining to be taken from this game. Perhaps most importantly, the offense quadrupled their output from last week, gaining 264 total yards. This was in large part thanks to freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn, who looked light years more comfortable in the pocket than he did last week. Not only were his passing numbers above average, but he showed some skill running the ball as well. The offensive line apparently decided they would keep letting pressure in, so Wegzyn really didn't have much of a choice. All the scrambling and QB keepers did result in something fairly spectacular, though:
UMASS' FIRST POINTS IN FBS!
Wegzyn was able to scamper into the end zone from 16 yards out early in the first quarter, bringing the score to 7-6, and momentarily inspiring hope in the 16,304 fans at Gillette. Of course, UMass kicker Blake Lucas missed on the PAT (and would miss a field goal later as well), so the Minutemen continued their streak of avoiding any leads or ties during gameplay.
After the Wegzyn score, it was all Indiana. Quarterback Tre Roberson tore up the UMass defense, scoring twice on runs and once more through the air before breaking his leg early in the second quarter. I feel for IU fans, as Roberson was primed to have a breakout season after a solid freshman campaign, but they will have to wait another year as he was redshirted for the remainder of the season while he recovers from the injury. Losing Roberson didn't seem to slow down the IU offense at all. The team matched his touchdown output of three after he left the game.
In a game like this, it is always tough to parse out the positives, but the fact remains that UMass showed a little bit more growth and confidence this week. That should only improve as the team continues to adjust to playing under their new coach and against continually tough competition. And that competition gets much tougher this week as they are set to faceoff against Michigan at the Big House. Oh boy.